Forever Young - Alphaville

I started the book in 2006. To say I've been working on it for four years would be true, but a bit misleading. I put the thing down for huge hunks of time since then. It lives in fits and starts. A million drafts and narrator maps and notecards. But on the other hand, to say I didn't work on it at all for over a year at one point, well, that wouldn't exactly be true either. Because I never gave it up. I always found myself thinking about it, wondering what was going to happen and how to make the dang thing work. I read stacks of books about the history of New York. I devoured Greek mythology texts, classic and revisionist. I stared at the first thirty pages over and over.

I don't know how to write a book. I didn't then, and I don't now. In addition to this fact, I also told myself I couldn't write a novel. That I didn't have it in me. This story, I have come to discover, is a steamy pile of poo. I think we all tell ourselves these I can't epics so we don't have to be full of terror all the time. Because attempting things means inherently living with the fear of failure constantly. Course the hilarious part about that is, NOT attempting them guarantees the failure. No matter. I didn't know that yet and so I spent years living in the I'm not a girl who writes novels story. 

At the beginning, I felt first of all that there were enough cultural bastion narratives in the universe about how women are the downfall of man. Pandora was another one of these long-standing, gorgeous, interesting epics about how a lady was intended solely as a trick to bring about the destruction of mankind and its utter anguish. I felt done with all of that. 

I'd been working, underemployed, at this women-owned sex toy shoppe in Manhattan and every day I'd watch scads of ladies come in and not even know where their pleasure zone was. And these were the lucky ones. The ones who got around to finding out. Thousands never do. Millions. And how many men do you run into who have no idea how to physically pleasure themselves? Okay then. This daily meditation and reality of meeting these ladies honed my desire to undo a little bit of history. I think originally my trusty feminist self saddled up to write an angry, sharp, witty book. It helped also that at the time the woman who I had recently parted ways with was now dating a straight girl. 

All that being said, I wrote my way out of being blindly pissed both at history, and at the butch, who, by the way, is awesome. In the process of the writing, I found some things that I really liked about the work. But the anger and isolation that spurred the initial text had dissipated so much that it became clear to me the novel actually had to be work made to be its own reward. 

Since that time, I have moved away from New York, wrestled the original main character out of the work, and replaced the story of the Hope of Pandora's Box with questions concerning immortality, time, consequence and love. I have peppered New York with the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus all searching for some kind of thing even though they have already had eternity to find it. Icarus and Pandora are caught in the middle. Not immortal Gods, and yet not mortal humans either. If you have eternity to be around, no clock ticking away, does regret exist? Will you outlive all consequence? Is that why the Gods all sleep with their siblings? Because there is no taboo in an eternal life?

Well... I'd love to give you a preview of everything, but it's 11:12, which is like the middle of the night for me. Getting up to run, because as you know, only the wicked sleep in. 

Sara Elise.

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